Lust is the great enemy and destroyer of love! Like many people, I struggled to overcome lust, untwist the lies I bought, and to find the freedom, power, and beauty of true love.
What is the difference between love and lust? Whereas love seeks to give generously and selflessly at all costs, even when it’s a sacrifice; lust is selfish and seeks to get pleasure for oneself even at the expense of the other person.
Lust is a powerful interior force that can be difficult to contain. It seems to possess a mind of its own. While lust seems like a powerful force, it is actually weak! It has no mind; it doesn’t think. It merely acts on sensual base instincts which is no better than a dog or other animals.
Passion is good in the right context of marriage. God gave us this powerful gift. But lust is intrinsically selfish and just seeks to indulge its sexual cravings. Lust doesn’t—indeed it can’t—say no. That’s why what seems so strong and powerful is actually weak, as are the unfortunate souls who are enslaved by it.
Lust will tempt you to make split second, reactionary decisions without putting any objective thought into the consequences. Lust can control you and will actually rewire your brain.
Lust is a lie that equals death! It will be the death of your relationships and of any love that might have been present. Only after indulging it does the remorse, guilt, emasculation, and evil that was hiding beneath kick in. Lust promises you passion, fun, and a great relationship. But, lust is the great destroyer of relationships because it is the opposite of true love. The two are irreconcilable. Jesus teaches that to lust after a woman is to commit adultery with her in your heart (Matthew 5:27-30).
Choosing love, purity, the other person’s good is always strong because it’s difficult. It takes deep inner strength to do what’s right, especially when your body is telling you to do otherwise. It takes thought and strong willpower to choose love when lust is raging—to take the high road when lust is screaming for you to reduce the other person to a play toy for your own pleasure. It takes real strength to resist lust and to heroically fight for the other person’s dignity, as a child of God. Using the other like animals use each other, with no self-control, with no thought of their eternal soul is sub-human and beneath all of our dignity. That is why lust, pornography, masturbation, and the like, destroys love and marriages.
As a man writing this, I must choose to love women, to respect them, and to treat them as princesses of God, even in spite of any base desires that scream at me to use them selfishly. Anything else is from the devil! As men, we must choose to act as the chivalrous knight and not the disgraceful thief.
Now, I realize that to overcome lust is a difficult task. It can be a long process, and all the more if there is an addiction. It takes time to purify our hearts and to change our mindsets. This is why we must be strong, pray like our life depended on it, fight daily against the enemy, and work toward complete freedom. Like any normal man, I am tempted many times a day with all the immodesty in our world (billboards, commercials, immodest women, magazines in the checkout lines, etc.). Yet, we are called to fight against it and to find freedom, but HOW?
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